Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

02/16/2021 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 43 ELECTIONS, VOTING, CAMPAIGN FINANCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 43 (STA) Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
Alaska Public Offices Commission - Heather Hebdon
+= SB 39 BALLOT CUSTODY/TAMPERING; VOTER REG; MAIL TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> TBA --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
           SB  43-ELECTIONS, VOTING, CAMPAIGN FINANCE                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:34:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 43,                                                                 
"An Act relating to campaign finance and initiatives; relating                                                                  
to elections  and voting; and  relating to  unlawful interference                                                               
with voting."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[The committee  adopted CSSB 43(STA), work  order 32-LS0253\I, on                                                               
2/2/21]                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He  listed   the  individuals  who   were  available   to  answer                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:35:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD joined the committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:35:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony on SB 43.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:36:14 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY BIRD,  representing self,  Cordova, Alaska,  stated general                                                               
support  for  the  concept  of  SB 43  to  address  loopholes  in                                                               
campaign finance laws. She withheld  complete support because she                                                               
understood   that  the   language   in  SB   43   might  not   be                                                               
constitutional. She  therefore encouraged  a rewrite of  the bill                                                               
to ensure it is constitutional.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:36:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER found  no one else who wished to  testify and closed                                                               
public  testimony  on  SB  43.  He reminded  the  public  of  the                                                               
opportunity to submit testimony in writing to ssta@akleg.gov.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER  asked Mr. Whitt  to address the question  about the                                                               
constitutionality of SB 43.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:37:21 PM                                                                                                                    
BUDDY  WHITT,  Staff,  Senator Shelley  Hughes,  Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
assured  the committee  that Legislative  Legal Services  did not                                                               
raise constitutional  issues with SB  43. He further  pointed out                                                               
that  there  have  been no  constitutional  issues  raised  about                                                               
Ballot Measure  2 that  voters passed, and  SB 43  simply expands                                                               
certain provisions of that measure.  He expressed confidence that                                                               
the bill passes  constitutional scrutiny as written,  but said he                                                               
would  follow up  with Legislative  Legal Services  to make  sure                                                               
that was accurate.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI said he too  considered the constitutionality of                                                               
the bill. He advised that  [Legislative Legal Services] indicated                                                               
it would  draft a  memo but  it would not  be available  for some                                                               
time. He  suggested the Judiciary  Committee, the  next committee                                                               
of referral, might address the concerns further.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked  him to forward the [forthcoming  memo] to his                                                               
office and he would forward it to the Judiciary Committee.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:38:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD observed  that  the testifier  did  not cite  a                                                               
reference.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER asked if there were any questions.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:39:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  said he had  questions for Heather  Hebdon with                                                               
the  Alaska   Public  Offices  Commission  and   Cori  Mills  who                                                               
represents the Office of the Attorney General.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He  asked Ms.  Hebdon  if she  reads the  new  subsection (s)  to                                                               
delete the references  to candidates in all  future elections. He                                                               
questioned how that would affect APOC's work.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:40:55 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER HEBDON, Director, Alaska  Public Offices Commission APOC,                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska,  agreed that  the  new  subsection (s)  would                                                               
bring  campaign  activities  of ballot  measure  groups  who  are                                                               
making independent  expenditures under the same  reporting regime                                                               
as   those  making   independent  expenditures   and  candidates'                                                               
election  activities.   Thus,  both   the  contributor   and  the                                                               
receiving  entity would  be  required  to disclose  contributions                                                               
made   and   contributions   received  within   24   hours.   She                                                               
acknowledged that APOC  staff would be affected  by this increase                                                               
in filer activity and needed education.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  asked  how  the   office  would  address  this                                                               
anticipated increased work volume.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. HEBDON said she was not  able to speak to the specific impact                                                               
because it is  an unknown at this point, but  the daily reporting                                                               
for some groups  will increase filing and  require more oversight                                                               
from  staff.  She noted  that  the  Anchorage municipal  election                                                               
would be the first election where  this measure is in effect. She                                                               
also  acknowledged that  the  regulations were  still  a work  in                                                               
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SHOWER  asked  Mr. Whitt  to  address  Senator  Kawasaki's                                                               
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:44:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WHITT stated  that SB 43 targets Dark Money  by ensuring that                                                               
Dark   Money  provisions   regarding   donations   to  and   from                                                               
independent  expenditure groups  apply to  ballot measures  under                                                               
the same guidelines as they do for candidates.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:45:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER summarized his understanding  that SB 43 essentially                                                               
applies  the  same rules  of  engagement  to ballot  measures  as                                                               
Ballot Measure 2 is applying to candidate campaigns.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. WHITT  agreed and  wondered whether that  was the  reason for                                                               
the constitutional question. He reminded  the members that once a                                                               
ballot measure is passed, it cannot  be changed for two years. He                                                               
reiterated that SB  43 does not seek to change  Ballot Measure 2;                                                               
it  expands  the  measure  by  adding  provisions.  He  expressed                                                               
interest in  seeing the memo  Senator Kawasaki  mentioned because                                                               
Legislative Legal  had verbalized  that an expansion  was allowed                                                               
and  would not  be  considered  a change.  He  said  it would  be                                                               
appropriate for  the next committee  of referral to look  at this                                                               
further; he  welcomed a discussion  about the  difference between                                                               
an expansion and a change in a ballot measure.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:46:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI questioned  Ms. Hebdon's  statement that  SB 43                                                               
would apply to the 2021  Anchorage municipal election, because it                                                               
would  not become  effective until  90 days  after it  was signed                                                               
into law.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. WHITT replied that was his understanding as well.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:47:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  asked if Ms.  Mills could discuss  the question                                                               
about expanding  an existing ballot proposition  that voters just                                                               
passed versus rescinding it.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:47:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CORI  MILLS,  Acting  Deputy Attorney  General,  Civil  Division,                                                               
Department  of  Law,  Juneau,  Alaska,  stated  that  the  Alaska                                                               
Constitution does not  allow a ballot measure to  be repealed for                                                               
2 years,  but it can be  amended. She said there  are court cases                                                               
that describe the  difference between a repeal  and an amendment.                                                               
This includes  a qualitative analysis  that goes to the  heart of                                                               
the purpose  of the ballot  measure and whether the  core purpose                                                               
is being repealed.  She said she had not done  the analysis as to                                                               
whether an  expansion would be  considered an amendment  versus a                                                               
repeal.  She reiterated  that  if the  core  provisions that  the                                                               
people passed are  still in place and unaltered,  that would fall                                                               
on the side of  an amendment to the law rather  than a repeal and                                                               
that would be okay.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:49:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER asked  her to  prepare  the analysis  for the  next                                                               
committee of referral.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MILLS agreed to do so.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SHOWER  found no further  questions and solicited  a motion                                                               
to move the bill from committee.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:49:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  moved to  report CSSB  43(STA), work  order 32-                                                               
LS0253\I, from committee. [The motion  did not include individual                                                               
recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).]                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:50:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER  found no  objection and  CSSB 43(STA)  was reported                                                               
from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                               

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